Proving that his hands can be as good as his fists, Cody McLeod put both on display during the 2012-13 season.
Getting off to a fast start in the season opener in Minnesota Jan. 19, McLeod scored a goal and recorded a fight in the first minutes of what would become a successful season for the veteran forward. His 83 penalty minutes once again led all Avalanche players, but maybe the biggest surprise was his scoring touch and his ability to get into the points column.
With an increased opportunity to play on the top forward lines with the likes of Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly, McLeod saw his offensive output increase significantly from his past couple of years in the NHL. That, coupled with his perfect attendance during the season (McLeod dressed in all 48 games for the Avalanche this season, joining PA Parenteau as the only other player to skate in every contest) and the addition of 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward Patrick Bordeleau stepping in as another physical role-player, also helped McLeod focus on his offensive game.
“[Bordeleau] can help out in that department and he’s a bigger guy so he can take on the guys who are a bit bigger,” McLeod said during the season. “It’s nice having him in the lineup.”
Last year, McLeod recorded 12 points (8g/4a) in 48 games – on pace for a career high had it been a regular 82-game campaign – and had a stretch where he scored five goals in five games (April 13-23). He also notched a two-goal game April 15 against Columbus, marking the fourth multi-goal effort of his career and his first since Oct. 17, 2009 against Detroit.
Not wanting to neglect his role as the tough guy on the team, McLeod made sure his penalty numbers didn’t slip either.
His seven fighting majors led the team during the season and contributed to his Avalanche-record 78 fighting majors in his career, passing former Colorado player Jeff Odgers (72) on Jan. 30 against Vancouver. In the same game, McLeod surpassed 800 career penalty minutes, becoming only the sixth player in franchise history and the second in an Avalanche sweater to do so.
Although McLeod saw his offensive output expand last year, he knows his energy and aggressive play are his biggest assets to the Avs.
“Just to bring energy, play physical, and make sure I work as hard as I possibly can every time I am out there on the ice,” McLeod said. “Just provide energy for this team.”
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